If you don’t feel like your business is where you want it to be, it can be hard to keep on loving it.
You lavish your time, your energy, and your attention on it. You lose sleep over it. You care deeply about its welfare. But you’re not getting what you want out of the relationship. It is leaving you frustrated, tired, stressed out, and devoid of your usual passion and enthusiasm. You put everything in, but you get nothing back. Frankly, you feel like your business is running you.
You’ve done all kinds of reasoning – the market conditions are tough, maybe you haven’t hit on quite the right product or service, you’ve not been at your best recently, it’s hard to hire the right people… you have kept going, but you’re running out of reasons to bother.
If this is you, it’s not a great spot to be in. But here are four ways to help you fall back in love with your business again.
1) Remember why you started it in the first place
Close your eyes for a moment, and take yourself back to the days when you first got started. What was it that made you take the leap? What did it mean to you to do it? Where did your passion lie? And now think about what got you really excited about how you were going to run your business. What made you different from the competition? What is it about YOU that you wanted to pour into your business to make it unique?
Everyone’s reasoning is different, but it may fall into one of these categories.
- Wanting to be the master of your own destiny
- Knowing you can help solve a problem for people
- Being passionate about a product or service you can provide
All too often, the day to day grind of working in our businesses makes us lose touch with the things that seemed so important to us in the beginning. We spend much of our time doing things that we don’t love to do. Unless you are a bookkeeper or accountant, you probably didn’t go into business because you love keeping your financial records. And if you love making things with your hands, perhaps you are not in love with doing sales and marketing. If you feel like you spend all your time doing things you don’t love to do, you may feel the passion for your business start to wane.
And you may have begun to lose touch with the things that made you different. You try to please everyone, or you spend so much time comparing yourself to other businesses, you have started to lose your uniqueness, and become just like them.
Make a little time for yourself on a regular basis to reconnect with what is really important to you. Hold onto those thoughts and feelings from the early days – and if you’ve gone off course from what you wanted (and still want), it’s time to figure out how to get back there. So now you’ve reconnected with your ‘why’, it’s time to address #2…
2) Where are you going?
A map, a GPS, and a compass are of no use whatsoever unless you actually have a specific destination in mind. No one can help you get where you want to go if you haven’t even figured it out yourself.
Without clarity on your goals, your business will be like a rudderless ship, drifting aimlessly around, even spinning in circles. You’ll be easily distracted, lack focus, and you won’t get anywhere. That’s no fun. The tropical paradise you wanted to sail to is unlikely to pop up by chance. You need to figure out exactly where it is, and only then can you plot a course to find it.
If you haven’t spent time getting specific with your destination, no wonder you’re not so much in love with your business any more.
So ask yourself, do you really have goals, or do they still fall into the dream and wish category? How specific are you about where you are going, and when you want to get there?
Once you figure out the long-term destination, you can actually start to use the maps, the GPS, and create a solid and specific plan to get you there. Specifics will set you on the path to turn dreams into reality.
3) Address your People Problems
People should be a business’s biggest competitive advantage. However, the reality for many businesses is that people are their biggest frustration. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are spending all your time dealing with your people, that means you have problems you need to address. Now.
And hey, solopreneurs, I’m looking at you too. Just because you don’t have employees, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking in the mirror! Maybe developing your own skills and your own self-management is what your business needs.
Many of our people problems can be resolved by putting the right people for your business into the right job for them. Once you have found that fit, you begin to create an environment where your people can thrive – that means they are motivated, do a good job and want to stay. If your people are thriving, then your business can thrive too.
So, do you have the right people?
Sometimes you hire people based on their experience. You believe they should be able to do a great job for you, based on things they have done in the past. And that’s ok. If you have also checked whether they are the right fit for your business and your values. Because if they don’t fit, then it doesn’t matter how great their experience is – they won’t do things your way. Worse still, they might violate the precious values of your business, and cause irreparable damage. If you value honesty, then you don’t want a salesperson who gets sales, but does it dishonestly.
- Figure out your core values. And communicate them to your people at every opportunity.
- Ask yourself if your people fit what is most important to your organization.
- If they do, let them know! Reward behaviours that uphold the values.
- If they don’t, also let them know. Give them a chance to put things right. But be prepared – if this person is not the right fit, you might need to wave them goodbye.
Are your people doing the right job?
Once you have established whether people fit your values, you need to work out if they are doing the right job. Do they understand their role, do they genuinely want to do the work, and are they mentally, physically, emotionally, ABLE to do the job?
Even the right person for your business will fail (and cause you headaches) if they are in the wrong job for them.
- What job are you asking them to do? Are the expectations clearly laid out?
- Evaluate the person and get a clear picture of whether they understand the job, want to do it, and whether they are capable.
- If they need further training, identify what that is and take the necessary action.
- If they are in the wrong job, do you have the right job available for them? Be careful to build jobs around the needs of your business, not around the capabilities of your people.
4) Ask for help.
I often compare businesses to children. In its infancy, a business, requires your constant attention. And as it grows, its needs change: you want it to learn to walk on its own two feet, and you allow it to be cared for by others. But it will always be a part of you.
The similarity doesn’t end there. If your real child was sick, you would seek help from a doctor, right? No one expects a parent to be a medical expert as well. Your business is really no different. Recognizing when to ask for help with it is key to its survival and long term success. And yet as a business owner, it can be hard to do that – it feels like in some way you have failed if you can’t manage everything on your own. Let me assure you: the failure is in allowing yourself not to realize the dreams you had, in not asking for help when you most need it.
My success as a business coach and consultant is dependent on your success. If you hire me, you are effectively hiring someone who is as interested in your success as you are. If you are really serious about making your business work for you, think of me as a relationship coach as much as a business coach. I’m here to reignite your passion for what you do, and help your relationship with your business feel good again.
Happy Valentine’s Day ❤